Teachers' and Students' Cognitive Styles in Early Childhood Education

Teachers' and Students' Cognitive Styles in Early Childhood Education

Teachers' and Students' Cognitive Styles in Early Childhood Education

Teachers' and Students' Cognitive Styles in Early Childhood Education

Synopsis

Some educators feel that children's cognitive styles should be taken into account when learning activities are planned for them. The term "cognitive styles" refers to one's "personal style," and describes an individual's mode of understanding, thinking, remembering, judging, and solving problems; in short, how he or she responds to and makes sense of the world. Assessing this functioning makes more sense than relying on a simple score on a standardized intelligence test. Teachers need to be aware of recent cognitive style research and learn to use the results of this research to plan effective educational programs. This book presents historical perspectives, suggests practical classroom applications, and provides implications for future research.

Excerpt

This book is addressed to researchers, psychologists, child development specialists, early childhood educators, and especially to teachers. Its purpose is to help them understand the nature of children's cognitive style and to use that understanding to improve the learning activities provided to children; to help improve the teaching of children and, ultimately, their learning in school. The contents of this book are designed to help teachers deal with the individual differences that are found among the children in their classes, especially in regard to the ways that children perceive the world and make sense of it.

Cognitive style is a psychological construct that has been of interest to psychologists and educators for some time. To some extent cognitive style is related to children's general cognitive development; thus, research on cognitive style has been of interest to researchers, psychologists, early childhood educators, child development specialists, and teachers. Some educators feel that the academic performance of children could be improved if the schools provided a better match of learning activities to their predominant cognitive styles.

There are several different dimensions to an individual's cognitive style. One of these dimensions is field dependence independence (FDI), which characterizes field dependent (FD) and field independent (FI) individuals. This dimension is related to the way an individual perceives and understands an item as it is related to its context or is understood independent of its context. Another dimension is reflectivity-impulsivity. This dimension is related to the degree to which an individual thinks about his/her responses or responds quickly with relatively little thought. A third dimension is locus of control. This dimension is related to the degree to which an individual feels able to control his/her actions internally or feels that her/his actions are controlled by outside forces. There are other dimensions of cognitive style as well.

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